Beat logo

Is Grunge Cringe or Binge?

by Rui Alves 10 days ago in alternative

Grunge becoming cringe-worthy now that Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ is turning 30?

Is Grunge Cringe or Binge?
Photo by Simon Weisser on Unsplash

Or does Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ scoring 1 billion Spotify streams confirm grunge doesn't make GenZs cringe?

Thirty years ago, the year was 1991; I had just turned 13 when Nirvana released Nevermind. The band’s iconic sophomore album would eventually awaken the teenage rock butterfly dormant inside my childhood cocoon.

The Aberdeen-based pathfinders of the Seattle sound would eventually go down in history as the most influential rock band of the 90s and the eternal kings of grunge.

‘Nevermind’ the Last 30 Years

Looking back, Kurt Cobain and Nirvana were more than rock legends. Their music harnessed enough existential life-changing energy to turn an introverted kid into a stage animal wielding a Hammer Chaparral bass guitar.

Nevermind introduced my generation to Nirvana, considering we had missed their caustic debut album Bleach (1989), which had sold 40,000 copies in North America before the band released their sophomore studio album.

Nirvana’s most iconic album is widely considered the best grunge record of all time. Nevermind tops a list that includes some of the best rock music pieces ever produced, such as Soundgarden’s, Badmotorfinger (1991), Pearl Jam’s, Ten (1991), Stone Temple Pilots’, Core (1992), and Smashing Pumpkins,’ Siamese Dream (1993).

The album turns 30 in September, and the remaining members from Nirvana are preparing a special reissue of Nevermind.

Nirvana’s bassist, Krist Novoselic, recently shared how they planned this release, considering the album could still entice an all-new generation and help them find some meaning in the world.

‘Nevermind’ Breaching the Generational Gap

Nevermind’s hit single “Smells Like Teen Spirit” hasn’t aged a day, and some Gen-Zs probably still listen to it and go “wow… that’s wig!!” just like we Gen-Xers proclaimed 30 years ago: “wow… that rocks!!”

Confirming what I’ve mentioned above, Nirvana’s iconic single has now reached 1 billion listens on Spotify. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” has crossed several generation gaps to establish itself as a timeless album straight from the alternative music universe.

Not bad for a couple of kids from Aberdeen, Washington, that dreamed of being as successful as Sonic Youth and raise enough money to buy an apartment.

Nevermind would eventually sell millions of copies worldwide and catapult the band to stardom. We’ll never know what the future add in store for Nirvana if we hadn’t lost Kurt.

However, I find it reassuring that Dave Grohl Still jams and sometimes records music with Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear. Who knows, maybe we’ll be blessed with an unreleased Nirvana song before September ends.

Final Thoughts

Reaching astronomical numbers on streaming platforms like YouTube or Spotify shows that Kurt Cobain’s legacy still lingers in our hearts and will remain meaningful for generations to come.

There's an all-new hype surrounding Grunge, and the post-pandemic youngsters will still look for inspiration in the lyrics of demiurges like Kurt Cobain.

I believe Kurt Cobain's legacy will endure as I keep seeing Nirvana all over the news and the hit single "Smells Like Teen Spirit" scoring cover after cover, meaning that the music from Nevermind still resonates with the new generations.

Last week, Malia J's cover of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" for the Black Widow intro became one of the trendiest tunes worldwide, thanks to the Marvel Cinematic Universe fandom and Nirvana fans.

Grunge isn’t dead as long as we keep on listening to it. When I close my eyes, I still listen to it roar deeply through my veins and in my blood, even if nowadays I don’t press play as often as I used to in the past.


Thanks for reading this article. Please consider supporting our community of creators by becoming a Vocal+ Member. Feel free to come back at any time and pick up another thread from my Vocal book of content by clicking here. Small tips and big hearts are highly appreciated. Till next time, cheers. - Rui

Rui Alves
Rui Alves
Read next: Jay Z: From Worst to Best
Rui Alves

I write to find the surrogate writer in me.

Rui is a graduate of the University of Porto, teacher, and life-coach.

He is also a partner of Rock n’Heavy and the founder of ZENite.

See all posts by Rui Alves

Find us on socal media

Miscellaneous links